Sunday, July 16, 2017
Friday, July 7, 2017
Excerpt #3 from The Missional Entrepreneur by Mark Russell
The spiritual mission of business is not to establish a kingdom of wealth and power but to bring the kingdom of God into tangible reality. The kingdom of God can be most simply defined as God’s reign. So, the kingdom is the manifestation of God’s ideals, principles, values, and will. It can also be understood as a physical expression of a spiritual reality.
The kingdom of God is not an esoteric, abstract concept; rather it is observable and concrete. When we see expressions of love, generosity, and grace these can be said to be a glimpse of the kingdom of God. This is not to say that everything about the kingdom of God is observable and physical. The kingdom of God refers to God’s reign over all things, both visible and invisible, both physical and spiritual, throughout all of creation. But it is, as Methodist missionary and theologian E. Stanley Jones pointed out, realism and not idealism.
Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God. It is His primary message as well as the message of Scripture. It is something real that has been happening for all eternity and since the beginning of time. Thus it has a historical quality. It is the unfolding story of God throughout creation. It is seen through the Old Testament, particularly in the concept of shalom, which is typically defined and translated as peace. However, it carries a stronger connotation than peace. It is more of a worldview where all things function in harmony.
Like shalom, the kingdom of God is a holistic paradigm, meaning that it covers every area of life. It is not simply about church activities or Sunday sermons, although these are definitely a part. It is focused on God’s redemptive plan of reconciling all things unto himself (Colossians 1:20).
God’s enemies oppose His kingdom. They are attempting to establish their own kingdoms and seek through antagonistic and antithetical practices to bring harm to the kingdom of God. Human Human uman beings choose which kingdom they will promote. Though they may not be aware of the importance of their choices, they are responsible for them.
The kingdom of God is one of grace, mercy, love, justice, righteousness, and judgment. Though these may seem like mutually contradictory aspects, they are not. God in His wisdom and sovereignty rightfully balances these aspects and the tension involved in human responsibility and the results of our moral choices.
Many Christians think of the kingdom of God purely in future terms. However, there is biblical warrant for understanding the kingdom of God as being manifested on earth in the current age, at least in part. Christ prayed for the kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Would it not be odd for Christ to pray for the kingdom to come if it were purely a heavenly reality? Failing to understand the present reality of the kingdom of God has caused many Christians to become withdrawn or inactive.
Business can be at the forefront of creating chaos or it can bring spiritual good into physical reality. The integration of economic and social systems transpiring in the world today is most commonly referred to by the term globalization. The reality of globalization means that we are more interdependent than ever before. Now, when we call a customer service line we are likely to be connected to someone in another country. But it is not just offshore call centers. It’s everything. Businesses of all types are integrated around the world. Supply chains spread across continents and wire transfers unite financial institutions just as fiber-optic cables across the ocean floor enable us to communicate broadly and quickly.
Nearly every day I relate with people in several different countries. For the most part I use email, but I also frequently have video conference calls over the Internet. On some days I’ll communicate directly with people in more than ten different countries. Most of it I’ll do through the Internet, without any fees charged to me. We are living in interesting days, indeed.
As the world is becoming increasingly integrated, we are becoming more aware and knowledgeable of various illnesses, injustices, problems, and suffering around the world. The population in developing countries is growing exponentially. Sadly, suffering instead of success is accompanying this increase. Every day, almost 2,000 babies are infected with HIV, either during pregnancy, at birth, or through breastfeeding.1 A sixth of the world’s countries receive two-thirds of the world’s income. For every $1 created through exports, $0.03 goes to low-income countries.2 More than 2.8 billion people live on less than $2 a day, and 1.2 billion people live on $1 or less.3
Business can be a means of bringing justice to the poor and disenfranchised around the world. Or it can be a way to exploit them and/or the natural resources of their land. Jesus called us to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37–39). In our new global reality, our neighbor can be rightfully understood as numerous people groups scattered around the globe.
This love for God and neighbor needs to be the foundational principle on which the missional entrepreneur stands. Christ said this love for God and neighbor was of utmost importance (Matthew 22:37–39). Paul said that love was the greatest attribute (1 Corinthians 13:13). John wrote, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God…If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:7, 20). We must emphasize the importance of love in all that we do, including business.
Business as mission reflects a desire for the kingdom of God to be manifested in a substantive way in the present age. When business fulfills its spiritual mission it can contribute significantly to creating economic shalom for many of the world’s peoples.
Missional entrepreneurs can have an important and vital role in an age of economic globalization. They can serve as practical extensions of the church to relieve people’s sufferings, and they can demonstrate physically the love of God by loving their neighbor. In doing this they can extend the kingdom of God, God’s reign on earth, and spread the shalom of God around the world.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
This Wealth Creation Manifesto was released by Lausanne Movement and BAM Global Thinktank as a result of Lausanne Consultation on Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation held in March 2017 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The Bible talks about wealth in three ways; one is bad and two are good. Hoarding of wealth is condemned. Sharing of wealth is encouraged. Wealth creation is both a godly gift and command, and there is no wealth to be shared unless it has been created. But all too often the issue of wealth creation is misunderstood, neglected, or even rejected. The same thing applies to wealth creators.
The Global Consultation on The Role of Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation aimed at addressing that. During the Consultation process 2016 – 2017 we discussed various aspects of wealth creation, including justice, poverty, Biblical foundation, wealth creators, stewardship of creation and the role of the church. The findings will be published in several papers and a book, as well as an educational video.
The Manifesto enclosed below conveys the essentials of our deliberations before and during the Consultation. (Click here for pdf file Wealth Creation Manifesto)
After the Manifesto below there is a short introduction to three other global consultations that also have dealt with issues related to wealth creation. There are excerpts from their respective Manifesto, Declaration and Statement, as well as links.
Wealth Creation Manifesto
The Lausanne Movement and BAM Global organized a Global Consultation on The Role of Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in March 2017. About 30 people from 20 nations participated, primarily from the business world, and also from church, missions and academia. The findings will be published in several papers and a book, as well as an educational video. This Manifesto conveys the essentials of our deliberations before and during the Consultation.
- Wealth creation is rooted in God the Creator, who created a world that flourishes with abundance and diversity.
- We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good.
- Wealth creation is a holy calling, and a God-given gift, which is commended in the Bible.
- Wealth creators should be affirmed by the Church, and equipped and deployed to serve in the marketplace among all peoples and nations.
- Wealth hoarding is wrong, and wealth sharing should be encouraged, but there is no wealth to be shared unless it has been created.
- There is a universal call to generosity, and contentment is a virtue, but material simplicity is a personal choice, and involuntary poverty should be alleviated.
- The purpose of wealth creation through business goes beyond giving generously, although that is to be commended; good business has intrinsic value as a means of material provision and can be an agent of positive transformation in society.
- Business has a special capacity to create financial wealth, but also has the potential to create different kinds of wealth for many stakeholders, including social, intellectual, physical and spiritual wealth.
- Wealth creation through business has proven power to lift people and nations out of poverty.
- Wealth creation must always be pursued with justice and a concern for the poor, and should be sensitive to each unique cultural context.
- Creation care is not optional. Stewardship of creation and business solutions to environmental challenges should be an integral part of wealth creation through business.
We present these affirmations to the Church worldwide, and especially to leaders in business, church, government, and academia.
- We call the church to embrace wealth creation as central to our mission of holistic transformation of peoples and societies.
- We call for fresh, ongoing efforts to equip and launch wealth creators to that very end.
- We call wealth creators to perseverance, diligently using their God-given gifts to serve God and people.